Isabel Best highlights the forgotten stars of cycling
Welcome to the Cyclingnews Podcast Women’s Edition, brought to you by Sportful, Pinarello and Floyds of Leadville. In the latest episode we speak to Isabel Best, author of the Queens of Pain: Legends and Rebels of Cycling, a book which chronicles the story of some of the pioneers of women’s cycling.
With the one-day race La Course by Le Tour de France held on July 19 in Pau, the first part of this episode focuses on Lyli Herse, Millie Robinson and the original women’s Tour de France.
Herse and Robinson had two very different upbringings, but their worlds collided when they met on the start line of the first-ever women’s Tour de France in 1957.
This incarnation of the event was not run by the organisers of the men’s Tour de France and would last just a year. A new women’s Tour would be created in 1984, and this time it was run by the same organiser as the men, though it would come to an end in 1989.
There would be various versions of a women’s Tour de France over the years, but the last one that resembled a proper Tour happened in 2009.
As well as discussing the lives of Herse and Robinson, we talk about the merits of creating an equivalent women’s Tour de France today, while maintaining the historical races currently on the women’s calendar.
In the second part of this episode, we take a look at how Best came to write her book, Queens of Pain, and her thoughts on how things have changed in women’s cycling over the years.
We also talk about more of the riders that she wrote about; the indomitable Tillie Anderson, the irrepressible Marguerite Wilson, and the ambitious group of Australians that set about making and breaking distance records.
Our discussion brings us all over the world from the late 19th century to the 1970s.
Sit back and enjoy our walk through history.
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